This all-electric catamaran just broke a world speed record – Robb Report

Ten years ago, electric boats were mostly tiny houseboats that waded for an hour around the marina. Over the past year, they’ve gotten into the sport boat world quite aggressively, with dozens of new brands.

Earlier this week, a 32ft. motor catamaran blasted past a crowd of thousands at 109 mph. This not only gave electric boats a place in the high performance record books, but shattered the idea that electric boats are all slow boats to China.

The Hellkat Powerboats V32 racing cat, designed to handle Vision Marine batteries and twin 180hp electric outboard motors, has rewritten the rules of electric boating, or at least improved its reputation in the boating world of pleasure. Having five-time UIM champion and current F1 H20 World Champion Shaun Torrente at the helm has certainly helped V32’s record-breaking prospects.

Shaun Torrente at the helm of electric cat Hellkat.

Courtesy of Vision Marine

The race was held during the annual Lake of the Ozarks shootout, a fast-paced bragging event that attracts 100,000 spectators as well as dozens of high-performance runners attempting to set new speed records. Each boat travels the three-quarter mile course for a shot at glory.

On its first attempt, the V32 hit 104 mph but hit 109 mph even faster on the second run. He broke the previous record of 88mph set by Jaguar with his Vector V20E in 2008. Torrente called the event “an incredible experience in pushing the boundaries of what people thought was impossible”.

“We wanted to show the world that electric power isn’t your grandfather’s electric trawler doing three miles an hour,” said Bruce Nurse, director of business development for Vision Marine Technologies. Robb Report. “It’s not a golf cart.”

Vision Marine Hellkat electric boat speed record

The catamaran hull was a smarter and faster design than a monohull to break the speed record.

Courtesy of Vision Marine

The speed record, while impressive, was perhaps more to show off the E-Motion brand, as running a boat at that speed for an extended period of time would instantly drain the batteries.

Still, it was an interesting exercise that shows the clean energy potential of electricity in a fast-paced world that most people still associate with the 80s – “Miami Vice” Don Johnson, drug dealers, gold chains and noisy and smelly engines.

Vision worked closely with HellKat on creating a catamaran that could accommodate its electric motors and batteries, paying attention to weight distribution and the constant knocks that high-performance boats endure, while squeezing every mph possible from the boat and engines for the record attempt.

Vision Marine Hellkats electric boat speed record

Electric speed demon.

Courtesy of Vision Marine

The unsung hero of the record was Vision Marine’s E-Motion outboard, developed in partnership with Octillion Power Systems. Vision says it’s the first 180hp outboard designed with a power package that includes throttle control and monitor to improve efficiency, speed and, of course, the all-important range. .

When the outboard is running at full power, such as crossing the line over 100 mph, the power increases to 225 horsepower. The team chose a multihull over a monohull because it has less wet surface and will therefore run faster. One of the big hurdles for the record attempt, and boating in general, was finding batteries that could fit in the 32-foot boat.

“Most electric vehicles use lithium-ion batteries, which are large and long,” says Nurse. “At first we tried with batteries from a Swiss car manufacturer, but they were too big. We ended up designing our own 700V stackable battery banks that fit into the hulls of several types of boats.

Vision Marine 180 HP outboard

While breaking speed records is fun, the new 180E electric outboard will power more traditional recreational boats.

Courtesy of Vision Marine

The company’s electric outboards will appear on various 2023 Groupe Beneteau models, including its Four Winns H2 sportboat. “Depending on the number of people in the boat, you could probably hit between 40 and 60 mph,” says Nurse of the new Four Winns. But if you want any kind of range, Vision’s literature notes that the boat will need to cruise at a calm 20mph to squeeze 60 nautical miles before needing to recharge.

Of course, speed is highly addictive and registers equal bragging rights. Nurse is already watching next year’s Shootout with the goal of breaking this year’s record. “The purpose of this race is to showcase the power, speed and torque off-line of electric boats,” says Nurse. “We want people to know there is an option for a fast boat, with 90% less maintenance, zero carbon emissions and quiet cruising.”

But until the battery capacity improves, don’t expect to go 100 mph for very long.

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